Monday, May 30, 2016

Lamb, Sweet Potatoes, and Yogurt

This meal came on the same weekend as the avocado and shrimp thing I posted a couple weeks back. In addition to the avocados we had in the house, we had a couple of sweet potatoes. Mr Minx isn't particularly fond of sweet elements in an entree course (with exceptions) but I thought if I spiced up the potatoes with some harissa and added a little smoked paprika, he might not notice the sweetness so much.

I also wanted to use up the Greek yogurt I bought for the avocado dish. A fairly recent issue of Martha Stewart Living (whatever one was on our coffee table) just so happened to have a recipe for lamb meatballs with yogurt sauce. I was going to make lamb meatballs anyway, and didn't use her recipe, but I did adapt the yogurt sauce. It's rather plain, but is a nice tangy foil to the spicy meat and potatoes. Adding a bit of pomegranate molasses to sauteed onions (which I added to the dish because we had a ton of onions taking up precious room in our tiny kitchen) added still more tang, and another layer of somewhat exotic flavors.

A quarter cup of cilantro and 4 tablespoons of mint might seem excessive, but don't skimp! Lamb has a powerful flavor and fewer herbs means that you won't be able to taste them. Plus, they're green, and green is good for you. :)

Lamb Meatballs with Spiced Sweet Potato Puree and Yogurt Sauce

For the meatballs:
1 lb ground lamb
1/4 cup minced cilantro
1 clove garlic, minced
4 tablespoons minced mint
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/8 teaspoon ground pepper
Pinch cinnamon

For potatoes:
2 medium sweet potatoes
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 - 1 teaspoon dry harissa spices
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika

For onions:
1 medium onion, sliced
3 teaspoons oil
2 teaspoons pomegranate molasses

For sauce:
1 cup plain whole milk Greek yogurt
1 egg yolk
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/2 cup chicken stock
Salt and pepper

To serve:
Crushed pistachios
Chives and chive blossoms, if you can get them

To make meatballs: Mix ingredients well. Refrigerate meat for an hour or so to allow flavors to meld. Form golfball-sized meatballs. Heat a non-stick skillet and add the meatballs. Cook, turning regularly, until crusty and brown on all sides, about 12-15 minutes. Ground lamb gives off a lot of fat while cooking, so you might want to cover the pan to prevent splatters. Drain on paper towel-lined plates.

To make potatoes: Peel sweet potatoes and cut into rough 1" chunks. Place in a saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil and cook until potatoes are very soft, about 12 minutes. Drain water from pan and mash potatoes, adding olive oil and spices. Add salt to taste and keep warm until ready to use.

To make onions: Cook the onions in the oil with a pinch of salt over medium heat until very soft, about 20 minutes. Stir in molasses and set aside.

To make sauce: Whisk together egg yolk and yogurt. In a microwave safe bowl (I used a 2 cup pyrex measuring cup), whisk cornstarch into chicken stock. Microwave on high for 1 minute, whisk again, then heat for an additional minute, or until thickened. Slowly dribble in the yogurt mixture while continuing to mix. Once fully combined, return to the microwave and cook for another 2 minutes, in 30 second bursts, whisking well between each. Season with salt and pepper and keep warm until ready to serve.

To serve: Mound some of the sweet potato mash on a plate. Top with a portion of the onions and a few of the meatballs. Sprinkle with pistachios, cilantro, and chives, and garnish with a chive blossom.

Serves 2-4.

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